20 March 2007

Happy Where You Are

Dude, if I lived in southern california I'd be so happy I wouldn't need friends. okay, just kidding, but Socal is pretty much the coolest thing since greek food.

Thrasius left that comment on my post about wanting some close friends and I thought that I could comment on that in a new post. Not that this comment is any analysis of him as a person, or what he wrote. The comment just started my brain thinking about what it takes for me to be happy. So, Thrasius, read this knowing that it isn't about you or your comment. It's about me and my history.

It's kind of weird the whole "being happy in the now" type of thing. People always say that you shouldn't focus on being happy when certain things get over. For example:
1. I'll finally be happy when I graduate.
2. I'll finally be happy when I earn real money.
3. I'll finally be happy when I get married.
4. I'll finally be happy when we have kids.
5. I'll finally be happy when the baby is older and sleeps through the night.
6. I'll finally be happy when he's out of the terrible twos.
7. I'll finally be happy when he's old enough so that we don't have to get a sitter.
8. I'll finally be happy when he can drive himself places.
9. I'll finally be happy when he's not a rebellious teenager anymore.
10. I'll finally be happy when he gets home from his mission.
11. I'll finally be happy when he gets married.
12. I'll finally be happy when I have grandkids.
13. I'll finally be happy when the grandkids are old enough to come spend the weekend.
14. I'll finally be happy when...

Do you see the problem? I do. People can waste away their entire lives thinking that they will be happy when some event is over. And before they know it, they are dead and were never happy during their life. I know I have fallen into that pit far too many times. It's a terrible place to be.

I lived like that for a very long time, and I regret it more than anything else. But I quit living like that. I now live a life that I hope has no regrets. If I ever have an opportunity to do something great or something unique, I take it. If I look at something and say, "This is a once in a lifetime chance," I do it. All within reason, of course. I'm not going to go out and shoot up heroin just because it's a new opportunity to try something I haven't done before. But you get my point. I changed my attitude. I changed the way I make choices about experiencing life. I chose to live happily.

Why was I always so stupid back then to not be happy living in the moment I was in? My life at BYU and in grad school at OSU could have been so much better. Why was I always yearning for the day I would graduate? Why didn't I take the time to go to the Jerusalem Center? Why didn't I take the time to try and make more friends instead of studying my a$$ of to graduate a semester early? Why didn't I participate in more activities and be more social? Why? Why was I always so focused on getting out of the situation that I was in? Why couldn't I have just found happiness where I was?

That, for the most part, has changed in me. Sure, I get down in the dumps now and again and wish for better days. But, for the most part, I live life to its fullest. For example, as you can read in my blog from yesterday, I tried out for American Inventor over the weekend. A couple of friends at mine at work thought about it, but didn't go. Now after hearing my fun stories about it, they regret not having gone up with me. Why didn't they go? So what if they were going to lose a couple hours of sleep. So what! The opportunity to do something fun like that doesn't come around very often. Would if they never do another season of the show? Then they will never have the opportunity. They missed it.

As I type this, I'm sitting here thinking to myself, "Am I being hypocritical writing this while knowing that I frequently get a woe-is-me attitude about SSA?" Maybe I am being hypocritial. Maybe it's time for me to stop being hypocritical and add one more thing to the list of no regrets. I don't want to regret having wasted my life because I would finally be happy when my SSA went away, or was therapied (can therapy be a verb?) into remission.

I need to be happy just as I am. I need to be happy right now and not live one more day bemoaning SSA. No regrets for SSA. Why the hell have I wasted all these years up til now hating myself for SSA? That is lame. Someone needs to smack me upside the head.

This addition to the No Regrets list may be easier said than done, but that's what I'm going to start working on. And if I ever get whiney in my blogs about SSA again, I want people to remind me of this post.


Anonymous said...

I'll be happy when I have an attitude more like yours! :)

Great post. I'm glad to start my day off with the advice to live grateful for today and the blessings it might have in store for me.

I appreciate your commitment to be more positive about the "struggle". You've said before in a previous post that your SSA has made you a better man and strengthened your relationship with the Lord. Allow me to remind you of the many spiritual experiences you've been able to enjoy due, all or in part, to SSA.

Besides- how many blind people do you know that curse their inability to see? Most are surprisingly grateful for who and how they are and bless us all with their faithful ability to "see" things differently.

Your (our) SSA may one day bring about the blessings of understanding and healing to some weary soul who can't seem to go on anymore.

Will it take until that moment of rescue for us to understand the great and loving wisdom of our Heavenly Father to have cultivated such compassion within us? Can you now understand and have compassion for any soul who struggles with pain, addiction, confusion, rejection, fear, oppression, or loss of faith? Could it have been done another way?

Perspective makes all the difference, don't you think?

Have the great day you were meant to have!

agirlwho said...

I am so glad that you posted this. It is so important to be happy where you are. I know that is what the Lord wants us to feel. Not too long ago I left a quote on AtP's blog about making the most of the day we have. This concept became especially clear to me as I was on my mission. Next transfer wasn't going to be better, the next companion wouldn't change my attitude, I needed to change it and live that very day in the best way I could. I think we all need to look forward to better things, but that doesn't mean the day we are experiencing is something we just need to get through. I am trying so hard right now to be satisfied with what I have and not keep wishing for things that I lack. If you can keep this attitude (if we all can) life takes on a much different, happier tone... remember, each day is a gift. We only have 365 of them each year...

SG said...

Carpe Diem has been so overused since Dead Poets Society became a movie, but it's still true. Sieze the day. Make the most of the moment. While it's unrealistic to think we can be happy all the time, it's a worthy goal. We can look for opportunities to serve others. We can turn on some good music that will lift us up (thanks for the comment on my Music post). We can be grateful for where we are, just as you said. And we can aspire for good things in the future. Man is that he might have joy.

Danish Boy said...

Hey, I was really pleased as I read your post. What a clear perspective! I love it when I read a comment and It's like why haven't I thought of that before. I know that you have no clue who I am but I felt like I needed to post to say that I really didn't get the "woe is me" feeling when I read your posts. You actually seem like a very upbeat person. Don't worry I am not trying to analyze your or anything. I also thought Id say that the polar bear analogy would be something good for you to hear if you haven't already. Agirlwho wrote about it on a changing countenance's blog. Good stuff. Anyway hope you have a great day!

n/a said...

amen... that is so true and I am exactly at that point in life where I'm saying to myself I'll be happy when... so what do I do? well thats the million dollar question... but this has made me think... (thats a good thing usually...)

My Best Is All I Have said...


Well, I didn't want to use it in the post and sound too cliche, but YES! Carpe Diem!

Or, as Boromir said it, "Remember today, little brother, for it is a good day." :P

by a thread said...

I have frequently felt the way you have stated here in this blog. I think the frustrating part of it is when you get over the "poor me" syndrome because you realize how unproductive it is, and then you feel that way again but with some variations on the theme. Anyhow...thanks for sharing your experiences.